Jul 142014

Failure occurred because a small drive belt that connected the console throttle lever components to an electrical potentiometer failed

Little things, sometimes not included in routine maintenance, can cause big problems warns the US Coast Guard in a Safety Alert. A  worn drive belt and loose nuts that went unnoticed are among the example that led to close calls that could easily have become casualties.

One example concerns a two-decades-old bulker which was leaving port when its main engine throttle failed. It managed to drop anchor without incident.

It happened because a small drive belt that connected the console throttle lever components to an electrical potentiometer failed. Movement of the throttle causes the potentiometer to move and creates a variable signal to other controls which manage engine speed. When the belt failed the control from the engine room console was lost. Fortunately, the vessel had a spare belt that the engineers replaced quickly.

The underside of the Bosch/Rexroth throttle was encased and the belt was not visible under normal circumstances. It was not routinely inspected.

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A Flare For Danger

 fire/explosion, maritime safety news, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on A Flare For Danger
Jul 112014

pyroPyrotechnics: Think before you throw is the message from the Marine Safety Forum in its latest safety alert.

Says MSF: “Recently at a depot where ship’s garbage is sorted, a discarded marine flare ignited on the picking line. Fortunately on this occasion there was no injury to personnel involved but some damage has been done to the conveyor belt.

Investigations are currently underway, and with the help of other agencies it is hoped that the owner can be traced.

Mariners, Ship Owners, Agents and Chandlers are reminded that flares and other special wastes should not be disposed of within the ship’s waste receptacles provided by the port.

Disposal of Ship’s flares or any Marine pyrotechnic should only be arranged through an approved provider for such services.
Further information on safe disposal will be available through ships chandlers and suppliers of replacement/new pyrotechnic items.

Download the safety alert

Jul 102014

waterlightSinking lifebuoys have already appeared on MAC, now the US Coast Guard has issued an alert regarding replacement batteries on emergency equipment. In this case it was the floating water light attached to  lifebuoy that sank thanks to a replacement battery that was the wrong weight.

While conducting an annual inspection a Coast Guard inspector picked up a ring buoy’s water light and noticed that it felt heavier than usual. The master of the vessel was notified and he then agreed to perform a float test. When the ring buoy and its water light were tossed into the water, the water light instantly sank about 5’ to the end of its painter. Apparently, the last time the battery was replaced, a heavier battery than the manufacturer’s recommended battery was used. This occurred despite the water light’s labelled instructions regarding the correct battery type. Continue reading »

Jun 242014

ID-100141843Painted capstan or windlass drum ends can create hazards, says a safety alert from the Marine Safety Forum. According to the auditor writing to MSF, the dangers are under-appreciated and says that such drums should not be prettied up with paintwork but many masters do not seethe danger.

Some time ago the writer was involved in investigating an incident where a seaman had damaged his wrist during a mooring operation. Part of the root cause was identified as resulting from the capstan drum end having been painted. The last eight ships audited by the writer all had painted capstan or windlass drum ends and two masters argued that there is nothing wrong with painting them.

The problem associated with this practice is that the paint itself is the hazard. Continue reading »

Safety Alert: Make Timber Tighter

 falling object, maritime safety news, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Safety Alert: Make Timber Tighter
Jun 182014

MNZ says loop lashing is the safest practice for securing timber deck cargoes in order to prevent damage or hazard to the ship and persons on board, and to prevent cargo loss.

Maritime New Zealand, MNZ, has issued a safety alert recommending loop lashing as the safest practice for securing timber deck cargoes to prevent damage or hazard to the ship and persons on board, and to prevent cargo loss.

A number of incidents have occurred around the world when best practice methods have not been used to secure cargoes resulting in injuries and loss of cargo overboard.

Says MNZ: “Any lashing practice must be able to overcome the transverse forces generated by the ship’s rolling movement. If the cargo is poorly lashed and the cargo moves during the voyage, it can cause a ship to lose stability. At present, the most common practice for securing timber deck cargoes to a ship is top-over lashing.”

Top-over lashing is a frictional lashing practice that applies vertical pressure that increases the friction force between the outer stows of deck cargo and the ship’s deck or hatch-cover. Top-over lashing as the sole securing practice for timber deck cargoes is sufficient only when the friction is very large or the expected transverse acceleration is very small. This practice is not recommended other than for vessels trading in restricted sea areas, inland or sheltered waterways. Continue reading »

Get Ready For The Rains

 maritime safety news, Safety Alerts, weather  Comments Off on Get Ready For The Rains
Jun 092014

stormHong Kong’s Maritime Department, Mardep, advisory regarding typhoons reminded MAC that it is time to send out the usual warnings for the this time of year – ugly weather is on the way and there will certainly be the usual casualties among cargo ships and ferries around Asia. MAC would prefer that its readers are not among them.

Such weather affects so many parts of a ship’s operations – from mooring to simply avoiding being killed by a badly-design bridge – that no single piece of advice covers every situation. Over the years we’ve carried many reports and several podcasts related to bad weather. Preparation and forethought is the key difference between a bumpy ride and a casualty.

Here are some incidents to think about and some of our podcasts:

Continue reading »

Watch Out For Stroppy Fingers

 Offshore, Safety Alerts  Comments Off on Watch Out For Stroppy Fingers
Jun 082014

stropArrange the strop properly when handling hoses then leave it alone is a key lesson from a recently issued safety alert from Marine Safety Forum. The incident resulted in a crewmember losing the tip of his finger in a rather unpleasant fashion. Not, of course, that there is pleasant way to lose a finger.while assisting the attachment of a bulk hose using the strop and pin method.

As the bulk hose was being lowered to the vessel the crew member caught the strop and looped it around the pin as usual procedure, but also took hold of the bulk hose as it continued lowering. As the hose lowered and the hang-off strop bore the weight of the hose his finger became trapped between the ship’s rail and the hose connection resulting in a finger being crushed and severed.

Says MSF: “The ‘strop and pin’ method of transferring a bulk hose requires minimal intervention or assistance from the vessels crew and there is no requirement or need for the crewmember to touch or guide the bulk hose as it is being lowered once the strop is attached. The only requirement for the crewmember during the bulk hose transfer is to catch the strop and ensure it is correctly looped over the pin.”

Here’s how the strop should be looped over the pin. No other intervention is required: Continue reading »

Apr 182014

greaseGreasing palms is not unknown in the maritime industry but greasing a little finger is somewhat rarer. Although this warning from Marine Safety Forum, MSF concerns a non-maritime incident there may still be the potential for it.

The operator was using a handheld grease gun to lubricate various grease points on earth-moving plant when he felt a sharp prick to his right little finger and on inspection noticed a small hole. On squeezing the finger about a teaspoon of grease was ejected.

He had not been wearing gloves.

Medical attention was sought resulting in a lengthy operation and removal of a vein in the forearm. This was replaced with an artificial vein.

MSF says: “At this time the operation appears successful however constant medical monitoring and surgery care is paramount to a successful rehabilitation.” Continue reading »

Does Your Fire Extinguisher Whoosh Or Dribble?

 safety alert, Safety Alerts, safety flash  Comments Off on Does Your Fire Extinguisher Whoosh Or Dribble?
Apr 162014

fireextWill your handheld fire extinguisher go off with a satisfying, throaty whoosh when it’s needed or will you be greeted by a rather disappointing, geriatric dribble? It might if the fire extinguisher is getting on a bit and has been serviced with the wrong components suggests a United States Coastguard safety alert.

Issued this month the alert says: During a fire-fighting event, a crewmember attempted to use a 15 lb CO2 extinguisher,
but the extinguisher failed to properly discharge and only seeped from the neck of the extinguisher.
The fire was extinguished by another crewmember using a dry-chemical fire extinguisher.”

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